Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 1) 446 446

I have a problem with the science of GMO because I don't think that humanity is nearly as smart as we think we are...FUD FUD FUD

We've been creating and eating genetically modified food since the beginning of agriculture.
Old Method: Allow untold numbers of random mutations to happen to our food. The food with random mutations and the properties we most like is the one we artificially select and keep. This is how we artificially created Canola from Rapeseed. If you want to go further back, all of our crops and livestock have undergone countless rounds of that same process for not decades, not centuries, but millennia. All along the way just ignorantly trusting that amongst the countless random mutations we've been choosing nothing is gonna go horribly awry.
New Method: Specifically and almost surgically induce only the genetic change we want to get the improved property we want.

Please, please explain how one can scientifically come to the conclusion that the safer method and the one less likely to carry unexpected and unknown side effects is NOT the method with uncounted unknown random mutations.

So far, for the most part all GMO has done for us is create new strains of food that is resistant to poisons that have ended up creating more resistant weeds. We keep hearing about all of the wonderful things that GM can do but it just doesn't get past the laboratory.

Look at Canadian Canola yields. About the year 2000 is when GMO canola started to really take hold. Average yield prior to 2000 was 24bu/ac and after 2000 has been 30.5bu/ac. Since 2005 only a twice have yields been below 30bu/ac and prior to 2000, not a single year ever reached that mark.

Comment Re:Another blow to states' RIGHTS. (Score 2) 446 446

It is a hand bred variety of rapeseed invented

What you mean is that traits already existing in rapeseed were enhanced via a particular selection process.

Genetically engineered canola has only one 'useful' property - herbicide resistance.

I mean they are BOTH genetically engineered. One was genetically engineered by using an unknown number of completely random mutations to get a desired result. The other was genetically engineered by using a specifically selected DNA change to get the desired result. The obvious follow on is that it's kinda absurd to demand that the higher fear of unexpected consequences is with the specifically chosen DNA change versus the unknown number of random mutations method.

Comment Re: This legislation brought to you by.. (Score 1) 446 446

Your faith in the testing regimen is kinda cute. The fact is that it isn't rigorous by any measure. E.g., no human trial has ever been conducted on the safety of GMO foods. And, GMO testing has been completely non-existent for long-term effects.

This is me calling you out for just inventing your concerns out of shear blind ignorance. Here's just a couple results from a quick look with google you could've done too if you cared about the issue like you seem to.
A 38-d feeding study evaluated whether standard broiler diets prepared with transgenic Event 176-derived "Bt" corn (maize) grain had any adverse effects on male or female broiler chickens as compared to diets prepared with nontransgenic (isogenic) control corn grain... it was clear that the transgenic corn had no deleterious effects in this study.

That led to a 3 generation study in rats: ...long-term consumption of transgenic Bt corn throughout three generation did not cause severe health concerns on rats. Therefore, long-term feeding studies with GM crops should be performed on other species...

Followed on by a 10 generation study of quail:
A ten-generation experiment with growing and laying quails were carried out to test diets with 40 (starter) or 50% (grower, layer) isogenic or transgenic (Bt 176) corn. Feeding of diets containing genetically-modified corn did not significantly influence health and performance of quails nor did it affect DNA-transfer and quality of meat and eggs of quails compared with the isogenic counterpart.

But I'm sure you'll come right back declaring see, no long term human studies, to which I might observe that a 10 generation human study doesn't look much different than an outright eternal and perpetual ban for no reason at all except your own fear born of the ignorant belief that specifically choosing a mutation by hand is somehow terrifically more dangerous than the more traditional use of entirely random mutations instead.

BT corn, potatoes, etc. have every cell in the "food" containing the BT toxin (these "foods" must be registered with the FDA as pesticides).

But, then why did the FDA state on their site: FDA has concluded that the presence of Bt 10 corn in the food and feed supply poses no safety concerns. and Foods from genetically engineered plants that have been evaluated by FDA through the consultation process have not gone on the market until the FDA’s questions about the safety of such products have been resolved.

Wait a minute, are you just making stuff up again?

We also know that herbicides like Roundup are carcinogens, and that GMO is mostly used to spray larger volumes of herbicides on crops. And, that record quantities of herbicides are now being sprayed throughout the life cycle of these crops.

Quick question for you, don't worry I'll provide answers for you too. First, kudos for having heard someone pass on to you that studies did find that eating pure roundup for generations DID increase the risk of certain cancers in rats.
Q. When Roundup is sprayed on a crop, how long does the residue last before newly planted crops won't die?
A. Many seeds can be planted the day after, some more sensitive ones though you might be better to wait 3 days though.

Q.How many insects and animals in the field die?
A.Only the ones that were caught under the sprayer's tires.

Q.How much roundup is still present in the crop when it comes off the field?
A.It's already virtually unmeasurable.

Q.How much is still left when the product hits the market?
A.See above.

Oh and the fear of record quantities of herbicides being sprayed on farms? Sorry, that's more FUD you've been fed. Roundup ready crops have cut way back on the use of a whole host of much more dangerous and expensive chemicals that used to be required before GMO crops enabled the use of the cheaper, safer and more effective round-up on crops.

Correlation is not necessarily causation, but it often is.... They should be required to label.... extreme mono culture.. famine....

Oh, now I get it. I admit it, you got me. You are a funny, funny man and I appreciate your style of humour. You had me going right up till the end there...

Comment Re:Another blow to states' RIGHTS. (Score 2) 446 446

Nope. The labels are about informed choice.

I have the right to know if what I'm buying with my money is the result of a combination of genes that have undergone thousands of years of 'safety testing' known as evolution, or something concocted in a lab by people who don't even understand fully the basics of what they're doing, but whose employers are in a rush to make a quick buck while they have the patent; something, which is only 'tested' against the interpretation of the safety rules of the said employers for a year or two.

Even if there was a working thorough safety testing procedure and no cause of concern (which isn't the case just yet), if I'm buying something with my money, I still have the right to know what it is made of, just like I have the right to know what's on the ingredient list, where something was manufactured, what color is the item in the package, what is the CPU inside and how many points are there per inch, and just like I tell my clients what's in the product that I ship to them.

If you're against labeling on the ground that it creates 'fear', let's remove the country of origin stuff too, after all, the importers have done all the testing and it is quite certain there's no harm to the consumer. Let's remove info about nutritional value, because high calories or weird ingredients scare the consumer. Finally, let's get rid of the pesky expiry date stuff, we all know that businesses will thoroughly test and that they won't put something spoiled on the shelves.

The thousands of years of 'safety testing' known as evolution was being bypassed long before the discovery of DNA, let alone the ability to directly manipulate for crops. Canola is one of the biggest 'GMO' crops after corn, and Canola itself is not a natural occurring plant formed from thousands of years of evolution. It is a hand bred variety of rapeseed invented in the 70's about 2 hours drive from where I'm typing this. Demanding GMO or not GMO labelling on crops makes about as much sense as demanding that the exact subspecies and variety of every crop be included on the label. For reference, in the just the last 10 years over 200 different varieties of canola alone were registered. If you want a label on your canola oil that requires a 3 page booklet on the front, that's the road your asking to head down. I somehow doubt that's off great benefit to the consumer.

Comment Re:Crazy! (Score 1) 459 459

So the next time the West decides to punish a country, at least that country knows there is a way out if they do something to change.

Except that Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm, and then we killed him.

Gaddafi also agreed to disarm, and turned over the Lockerbie bomber. We killed him too.

Historically, there has not been much benefit to acceding to American demands.

Do you really just care so little about your world that spending ten minutes learning about it and thinking about it is too much for you?

Saddam committed genocide against his own people, Iraqi Kurds, in the 80s.
Saddam committed genocide against his own people, Iraqi Shia, in the 90s.
Saddam, far from agreeing to disarm, was disarmed by force and at gunpoint at the end of the first Gulf war. He agreed to allow inspections to confirm he didn't restart his WMD programs, and then proceeded to continually refuse the inspectors access and kick them out of the country.
Then we killed him. If you ask me, we were 2 wars and 2 genocides too late in finally doing the reasonable thing.

Gaddafi did agree to disarm. It was shortly after the time that Saddam was removed from power for refusing to do the same. Gaddafi then made the mistake of going ahead and declaring his intention of purging his nation of the cockroaches of the arab spring, house by house. He then proceeded on a wildly successful military campaign to enact his promised genocide. At the last minute, and at the urging of the Arab League the United Nations authorized the use of force to protect the Libyan people. Yes, we participated in air support to the Libyans the Gaddafi had sworn to kill. Then the Libyan people killed him.

I'm not sure the word historically really even belongs your vocabulary, I think the word you were looking for was propaganda...

Comment Re:Political posturing. (Score 1) 459 459

... boldly declared its intention to wipe out both Israel and the United States.


That's just political posturing and propaganda. Even IF Iran gets nukes, they would be no threat to the US. And as far as Israel is concerned, they have plenty for retaliation. And it will never get that far. Israel will violate international law like they always do and just bomb the shit out of Iran's nuke labs and stir up a shit load of trouble and then come crying to the US to bail them out of their dickishness.

Sorry, it sounds an awful lot like you are referencing the Israeli bombing of Saddam's Osirak reactor and declaring it as Israeli dickishness. I'm not sure it's really such a bad thing Saddam's nuclear weapons program was taken out 10 years before he invaded Kuwait.

We have given concessions to a country that has repeatedly lied, hidden, deceived,...

That statement can be applied to Israel. I cannot count how many times she has double crossed and screwed over the US.

As an American, I am sick and tired of my government aligning our interests with a rogue state that has no interest in peace in the Middle East - or at least peace by Israel's terms which from her actions means Israel has total domination over the Middle East.

Frankly, with "allies" like Israel, who the fuck needs enemies.

Boo hoo, the world is a bad place and people are mean in it, let me get a tissue for you.

Like it or not, the global economy runs on oil. All the food we grow, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in and the transportation of all of it to where we live depends upon oil for the last couple decades.

Like it or not, the largest supply of easily drilled and refined oil is in the Middle East.

Name a single country in the Middle East that really looks like a great ally based upon it's ideology and past behaviour. None the less, without access to that oil our economies collapse and our people get cold and go hungry. As a result, alliances are made with people that aren't ideal, but none the less enable oil to flow out of the Middle East and into the global economy. Far worse than Israel though would have to be Saudi Arabia's banking of billions in oil dollars and converting into military spending and spreading of Sunni fundamentalist ideology across the region.

It's really, really easy to point how many terrible consequences and actions 'allies' represent in global politics. Try taking the next step though and proposing better alternatives. Most specifically, is the Middle East situation better or worse if Iran acquires nuclear weapons? For bonus points, give a decent assessment of whether continued sanctions against Iran is a better alternative to this deal.

Or you could just stay in your corner masturbating about how everything is terrible, your choice.

Comment Re:Inspection Process (Score 1) 459 459

Well, I do not know how meaningful this really is. When you delay things that much everyone knows you are doing something fishy. For whatever, you can always pile excuses the one after the other. But the trust in the actors is quickly lost when you do that.

And yet Saddam pulled that delay and deny plan for more than a decade and yet when America finally said enough is enough the whole world cries about letting inspections do their work and how the process was working...

Comment Re:Only IRAN is celebrating (Score 1) 459 459

Your argument is that Iran is a threat because they allow freedom of speech and that they have directly contributed to a terrorist group. Unless you also think that the CIA and US military are the GREATEST threats the world has ever seen, you seem to be lacking some simple logic and common sense.

Is it propaganda, ignorance, or simply bigotry that guides your misjudgment?

I suppose you didn't read my argument then, I'll repeat it for you to ignore a second time:
3. Hezbollah was more or less founded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Hezbollah is to this day heavily trained, funded, equipped and armed by Iran. Hezbollah absolutely has launched multiple direct assaults on Israel and is eternally stockpiling weapons and arms on Israel's border aimed in on it.

Comment Re:Only IRAN is celebrating (Score 1) 459 459

1. Holocaust denying kills or maims no one. It's stupid propaganda but that's all
2. Israel has called for the destruction of Iran, to wipe it off the map. look it up

Let's just go ahead and pretend we are you, and accept your above beliefs. Between Israel and Iran, which nation has launched more direct attacks on the others nation with rockets, and soldiers with guns? Iran's Hezbollah proxy has directly launched multiple attacks on Israel. The last direct actions Israel took within Iran's borders was probably during the Iran-Iraq war, when they sent arms and logistic SUPPORT to Iran...

3. USA has funded plenty of terrorists, revolutions, despots, mass murder (example providing money and dual use tech to Saddam for WMD) more than Iran has.

I wish you anti-American rhetoric folks could make up your mind about Saddam. Listening to your ilk it would seem that Saddam was evil incarnate back in the day when America was propping him up. On this point I actually agree with you. However, when America finally smartens up, changes course and removes Saddam, your ilk again decry America for it's unprovoked aggression. The point were Saddam went from genocidal despot to innocent victim of the evil America is an exercise left to the insane.

Foreign policy is not some black and white world where actions must have a lovely outcome to be better than the alternatives. Plenty of times we face a world where ALL options have some very sad outcomes, including the option of sit back, do nothing, and claim 'innocence' through inaction. Rwanda should make clear that not even pure straight up pacifism can be defended as the clear and obvious moral choice. In the middle east, for all the faults with Iran's leadership, if we could trade western support for Saudi Arabia to Iran would be far ahead, as the Saudi state is much worse as a whole, most importantly in it's treatment and rule of it's own population. It's terribly tempting to abandon Saudi Arabia outright given the terrific amount of support they directly provide to terrorist sunni extremists throughout the world, most importantly ISIL and the Taliban in Pakistan. Of course, if America withdraws support to Saudi Arabia, Russia or more likely China just steps in to take our place and will almost certainly do even less to keep the worst elements of Saudi Arabia in check.

In summary the world is a mess, and pointing out America's many, many ills doesn't negate the problems in other countries like Iran and the fact that an Iranian nuclear program isn't a great thing for the region or the world.

Comment Re:Only IRAN is celebrating (Score 5, Insightful) 459 459

Wow, the overreaching race to make Iran a saint and America the devil. You're overzealous approach led you to spout a lot of utter nonsense. Let's review indeed.

Iran: Never invaded anyone, never used weapons of mass destruction against anyone, never posed a serious threat to anyone except Hussein's Iraq.

1.Their official head of state, and until recently their president beneath him, were holocaust deniers. Plenty of FUD has been spread to try and deny this denial, but the fact is plain that both Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have both openly questioned how many Jews were really killed in the holocaust and called for that to be restudied and questioned by scholars more generally. It's just the new face of denial, what is the holocaust after all without millions of victims singled out for their ethnicity alone? It's just some people that died in a war again, so questioning if millions really died IS absolutely denial of the holocaust.
2. Ali Khamenei called for Israel to removed from the map, and Ahmadinejad called this a very wise statement. Somehow that seems at least a bit threatening to Israel, no? Move on to 3 before crying how Iran's never put action to those words...
3. Hezbollah was more or less founded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Hezbollah is to this day heavily trained, funded, equipped and armed by Iran. Hezbollah absolutely has launched multiple direct assaults on Israel and is eternally stockpiling weapons and arms on Israel's border aimed in on it.

U.S.: Invaded Iraq with no provocation,

Saddam's Iraq invaded and seized Kuwait with no provocation first. Upon Saddam's elimination of a UN member state, the US kicked him out and returned sovereignty back to Kuwait. They additionally set out and dismantled Saddam's programs for weapons of mass destruction that he very much DID have then. They additionally setup a no-fly zone over northern Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds from a second genocide, as Saddam had previously done against them after the Iran-Iraq war. The U.S. did however listen to world opinion and stopped there. They left Saddam in power, and stood outside Iraq's borders and watched Saddam commit a second genocide, this time against Shia Iraqi's who foolishly rose up when Bush Sr. suggested they do just that.

So since the end of the original Gulf War, which Saddam surely instigated, he committed genocide, for at least the second time in his reign. Meanwhile all the signatories to the convention on genocide stood back and had done nothing. Saddam additionally kicked out international inspectors trying to confirm his compliance with his agreement to not restart his WMD programs, and he had done this repeatedly. He repeatedly violated the no-fly zone over Kurdish Iraq. But yes, aside from the genocide and refusal to abide by inspection of his old WMD sites, there was no provocation at all for removing Saddam from power...

only country in the world to use nuclear weapons,

This has to be the cheapest shot in your quiver. Even the Japanese, the only country in the world to have nuclear weapons used against it, agree that the nukes probably saved lives, even if you only value Japanese lives, versus an inevitable ground invasion otherwise. And don't compound your folly by declaring how the nuclear bombs where unneeded because Japan was going to surrender anyway. Merely the fact that a second bombing of Nagasaki was required proves that Japan wasn't even prepared to surrender AFTER Hiroshima had been nuked.

have overthrown countless democratically elected governments (including the one in Iran).

So remind me, WHO'S the threat to world peace again?

Much as has Britain, and France, and China, and Japan and Russia and any nation that has ever gotten large enough to ply it's powers globally. America is no saint, but that hardly changes Iran's nature.

Oh, and if you're going to say that Iran "supported terrorism," well not only is there no serious evidence of that, but CIA agents in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Unless you count a group like Hezbollah as terrorists...

Comment Re:From the horses mouth (Score 3, Informative) 273 273

I have no problem with a course teaching about what anti-vaccine supporters claim if it helps doctors debunk it in person and helps them dismantle it in person. I hope this is what it is about.

That was exactly my hope. I could see the legitimacy of inoculating students to all the half truths and outright lies that alternative fruitcakes are trying to pitch the public. It's even important to have our medical students versed in some of it just so they can be prepared to counter the fear mongers.

Regrettably, the course outline reveals otherwise. It goes as far to say the course will delve into a quantum physics’ understanding of disease. So it's a course teaching the very worst of the lies. The instructor is listed as Beth Landau-Halpern. Here's an undercover video CBC caught her and others in where she tells the parent that vaccines are causing allergies and other stupidity that is entirely counter to scientific evidence. She even has a blog post here confirming it was her and pleading that her advice was devoid of context, as if there is some context in which suggesting vaccines like that for MMR is really far worse for a child than a homeopathic placebo she was willing to sell...

This is as about as bad as it can get. We have the U of T willing to run a course taught by someone this loony, and then to review the course material and find it acceptable even! Of course, they are not going to be offering the course next year, and hopefully never again. But for it to get this far is a sign of some very, very deep rot in institutions that seriously needs to be cleaned up.

Comment Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 2, Insightful) 308 308

Thus far, no other candidate has said they're going to make climate change their top priority.

Ever notice how politicians' plans are always far out in the future? Sure, 35 years is within the scope of of most of our lives, but usually they are well past the time that the politicians proposing them will be around to face the consequences. We hear the same thing all the time about balancing the budget and paying down the deficit ever since Reagan, but neither one has happened yet.

Amen to that.

If we are gonna claim to be serious about cutting emissions, France has already proven the technology to do so has already existed for a long time. We can start funding the deployment of nuclear power on a large scale now. The technology all existed to transition years ago already when France did it and used it to this day to sell energy to the rest of Europe.

Meandering mouth service to researching solar or wind or some other solution isn't bad per se, but it is absolutely inadequate to stop there. There are real concrete actions that can be taken today by anyone that is truly motivated and convinced of the importance to do so.

Comment Re:Climate models get TOA energy wrong (Score 1) 305 305

In Chapter 9 of the IPCC AR5 Report The current status of tuning model performance notes the following, including a half dozen citations of peer-reviewed articles verifying the statement:
Model tuning aims to match observed climate system behaviour and so is connected to judgements as to what constitutes a skilful representation of the Earth’s climate. For instance, maintaining the global mean top of the atmosphere (TOA) energy balance in a simulation of pre-industrial climate is essential to prevent the climate system from drifting to an unrealistic state. The models used in this report almost universally contain adjustments to parameters in their treatment of clouds to fulfil this important constraint of the climate system (Watanabe et al., 2010; Donner et al., 2011; Gent et al., 2011; Golaz et al., 2011; Martin et al., 2011; Hazeleger et al., 2012; Mauritsen et al., 2012; Hourdin et al., 2013).

For reference, TOA energy imbalance is the entire driving force of long term climate change, and models still have to hand-tune cloud parameters to get TOA energy correct.

Without getting TOA energy correct, the only thing the models are telling us is how climate components respond to changing TOA energy. They do NOT tell us the much more important element of how TOA energy will respond in the future. The current state of climate models is a necessary step to getting there, and is step forwards from the past practice of directly inserting energy when needed, but let's not go claiming we already are there. The facts and evidence state that we aren't. Any actual modellers claiming that they can predict future TOA energy, and thus macro climate trends, is being dishonest and there's a reason you don't see any of them quoted as such. Instead you see their papers quoted as the IPCC did above, and other folks are the ones coming in and crowing about the importance of the climate model's prediction without grasping the underlying factors that are still being tooled.

Comment Slippery slope (Score 1) 305 305

We are already a long way down this slope. The day that the notion of consensus was picked up was the day a knife was stuck into the heart of climate science and the religion of climate science was birthed. The state of things today leaves almost no possible future I can imagine that doesn't leave this entire timeframe and 'debate' as a huge black mark on science. The number of conditions, uncertainties, and qualifiers that have been left out of statements now, not only by the press but by journal authors themselves on blogs and other media, leaves almost no future were the public can't point backwards and cry that the 'consensus' from today didn't cause extinction of corals or polar bears or wipe miles off the Floride coastline by 2050...

Why not let the pope in on it all too at this point.

Comment Re:Projections. (Score 1) 310 310

Apparently you do not have a fucking clue.

ISIS is crawling with Baathist leaders, not Al-Qaeda. In case you forgot. The baathists were Sadaam Hussein's group in Iraq. Guess who ousted them from leadership and simply disbanded the military with no continuation or accountability? The same ones who thought they would be greeted as liberators with no plan after "blow 'em up, they got WMDs!" -- little bush and his warmonger buddies.

Where did you get your drudge fox impression of the situation?

How can you know that and still miss the obvious? You correctly note that a lot of former Baathists are working with ISIS. Presumably from your tone you also are not a fan of ISIS and believe that them expanding their control and influence is a bad thing.

Can I suggest taking the next step and asking we ponder what Iraq might be like if those guys controlled the entire country and whether or not you think that would be a positive change?

The reason I ask, is because that WAS the situation before bush and his warmonger buddies ousted them. No question Bush and co fouled things up from day one, but the actual decision to remove Saddam and the Baathists was hardly a bad thing. ISIS has yet to touch the atrocities that Saddam perpetrated while in power, and yes, keeping the remnants of his diseased regime out of power is certainly important and another reason to resist ISIS expansion. Just don't try and over simplify things to the point you start making the absolutely idiotic wish that Bush hadn't screwed up Iraq with his horrible war. Iraq was already an awful place long before, and the former Baathists that are working with ISIS are the biggest part of that.

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt